ITV/Channel 4/Channel 5
Here’s what they’ve done. Over several adverts, insurance company More Than adopt the voice and name of Morgan Freeman (“I’m More Than Freeman”) in increasingly odd Shawshank Redemption type voice over scenarios without apparently breaching any copyright (an impressive balancing act). It’s not the Morgan Freeman, of course, it’s jobbing cracka-ass cracker impressionist Josh Robert Thompson from Cleveland, Ohio. They apparently got Freeman’s permission although I’d rather believe they killed him and replaced him with a nodding replicant.
The concept comes from VCCP, who brought Compare the Market‘s talking meerkat Aleksandr Orlov into the world and you have to give these soulless bags of shit credit – they’ve got a knack for producing eye-catching campaigns. But it currently seems like we’re reduced to this: targeting celebrities whose name sounds a bit like your product. We all remember Salt and Lineker crisps but the scope seems almost endless. Paris Stilton? Richard Branson Pickle? Will Carling Black Label? Robert De Biro? That last one needs work.¹
It’s the association principle in action. Link a brand to a celebrity of note and watch your conversions skyrocket. It’s one of the most consistently successful practices in advertising. But hasn’t at least some thought got to go into finding a celebrity who is a good match for your brand? Because all I think of when I see Morgan Freeman is him turning the other cheek when Tim Robbins took on a gang of rapists in Shawshank and got “more than” he bargained for. Try insuring that, motherfuckers.
¹ Fuck you. Nothing Aerial Telly does or says needs “work”.